I am not a good steward

I’m reading significantly more this year (probably as a result of no longer having a TV) and so in an idle moment I wondered how many books I own that I haven’t read yet. The results were somewhat discouraging (and this just from my office – there are hundreds more novels and biographies and so on at home).

I have approx 240 reference books including commentaries. I’ve used most of them but read hardly any of them cover to cover. I’ve read around 140 of them in full leaving a mere 460 books unread.

It made me wonder how I came to have so many, but I’ve worked around and with books for years – I’ve been given them by the box load, inherited them, bought them, been invited to pick up armfuls of them and kept them all. As a result I have a wide and not entirely coherent collection. Some shelves are well read and some are untouched.

This yields a few insights, firstly I’m hoarding books. So much for simplicity. Secondly, I’m justifying too many of them under the ‘might be useful for work one day’ heading. Thirdly, I’m not stewarding my resources of time, money, space and so on as effectively as I could. Fourthly, I like having lots of books.

I’m still acquiring new books, so the list of unread tends to get longer not shorter. This is unfortunate. If I was able to keep up my current rate of reading and gained no new books it would take me the best part of a decade to read them all. This too is unfortunate.

Best get cracking.

2 Comments

what happened to the fifth point?

For the last few years I have made a point of reading more books than I buy. So books given to me as presents or acquired by my wife don’t count. I also allow myself a new commentary on any book I am preaching a sermon from. Truth be told I have enough unread books to keep me going for a couple of years without needing to buy anything new. I have at least 30-40 unread that would be worth reading, and probably a similar number that would bear re-reading.

Library thing is quite useful for keeping track of what you have, and what you’ve read:
http://www.librarything.com/catalog/markheath

I’m still reading the books I bought at the Illuminate sale last year… or was it the year before? Haven’t started the whopping OT Theology.

It would help if people didn’t keep lending me books! And if I read a bit quicker.

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